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Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit: Meet Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics – WELL Summit

Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit: Meet Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics – WELL Summit


Sarah Villafranco, MD, is not just a skincare founder and CEO—she’s an expert in helping people manage difficult skin, especially conditions like acne, eczema, allergies and perioral dermatitis. Her line, Osmia Organics, capitalizes on her medical background where she trained to look at each person’s whole health instead of blindly pushing product on someone. She’s a big believer in high-quality ingredients and simple formulations. When you pack too many ingredients in one product, she says, it’s really hard to know what’s helping and what’s causing trouble. She’s bringing that expertise (and more!) to the W.E.L.L. Summit this year, but before you meet her in person, take a peek into her thoughtful mind with our latest speaker profile.

What’s something new you’ve taken on recently? I’m becoming an expert in how to stop coloring your hair and #displaythegray, as you’ll see in a few weeks! I love sharing that journey, and it’s amazing how many people want to talk about it. Between me and Lisa from This Organic Girl, we have lots of show and tell!

What would WS attendees be surprised to learn about you? That I was in a ferry crash a few hours after first meeting Gianne this summer—and I was the only doctor on board!

What first attracted you to W.E.L.L. Summit? I had seen it buzzing around Instagram, and then I met Gianne this summer on Nantucket, and she said she’d love to have me attend the event. It’s packed with great speakers and events, and I’m a huge fan of 360-degree wellness.

What are you teaching at this year’s Summit? I’m talking about how to separate skincare fact from fiction, because I think it’s incredibly hard as a consumer to know what’s actually important in caring for your skin, and what’s just a gimmick or marketing fluff. I want to cover what impacts skin health from the inside out, and help people become their own skin advocates, rather than feeling they’re at the mercy of a dermatologist or always searching for a miracle product.

What does wellness mean to you? Wellness is when your diet, activities, family life, work, stress levels, and joy are all at the right levels—like when you used to adjust those little sliding tuners on your stereo. When things are in balance, it shows in your posture, your face and your skin. And when you get things mostly balanced—because you’re the only one who can do that—you’re more equipped to deal when things tilt out of balance, which they always will.

What are you hoping to empower attendees with? I want people to leave with a clear understanding of how to care for their skin and their health in general. I also hope they’ll leave my session fired up to change some things—there is lot of unhealthy imagery and vocabulary out there in the beauty world, and we need to work together to shake things up a bit.

What other W.E.L.L. Summit Speaker are you excited to hear from? I’m excited to see so many people! I hope to learn from dear friends like Josh Rosebrook or Rebecca Casciano, and from new people like McKel and Jessamyn! I’d love to connect with some of the other physicians there, as I’m always interested in how people blend traditional medical training with other wellness methods.

I hope to meet some new yoga friends, like Kathryn Budig and Koya Webb. I’m always so glad to see the blogger buddies, like Chelsea, Lisa and Suzi, as well as my long-time green beauty friends like Brandie and Nicolle! Was that too many things??

What exciting things are you working on this year?  We have our Craft Series of body oils coming out soon—I’m really excited to introduce this concept to people. Basically, it’s a way to release small batches of limited-edition body oils. I have endless combinations of essential oils to play with, so my creative juices are always in flow mode!

But we can’t scale up a line with 75 body oils—it’s just not practical. Instead, we’ll use the same luxurious base we used in our Gem Series, and I’ll be able to play with new scent combinations. Some batches will be 10 bottles, others more like 100—but I hope it will give Osmia lovers something new and beautiful to incorporate into their rituals from time to time.

Anyone who is at the top of their game has had to persevere and cheerleader themselves. What is one thing others told you was impossible but you proved was possible? I had lots of eyebrows raised in my direction when I decided to leave the ER. People asked how I could let go of medicine when I’d worked so hard for it, or how I could possibly go from doctor to ‘just a soapmaker’? I think what I’m proving with Osmia is that there are lots of ways to heal people, and that sharing my passion for simple, natural ingredients and healthy, joyful living is my true brand of medicine.

What book(s) are you reading now? Just finished reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey—for the second time. I plan to read it a third time, maybe even a fourth. I think it’s one of the most perfectly crafted novels I have ever read.

What quote inspires you? “If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen.” It’s the perfect inspo quote, because it’s empowering, but also makes you take responsibility for your choices and actions.

What do you do when you feel out of balance? When I don’t exercise. If I’m a crabby mess, I need a run.

How do you deal with negativity? From self? From others? I try to think of my thoughts like water, and allow them to flow to positive places. When they’re unruly and try to flow to negative places, I gently redirect them. As for the negative energy from others, I think that’s something I’ll always struggle with—I tend to take on other people’s emotions. I’m working on listening to people’s thoughts and feelings without feeling like I need to carry those feelings on my back for the rest of the day—but it’s not easy!

What is one thing you had to overcome that helped you get where you are today? My ego! I had to let go of lots of ego-related things to pursue my dream.

What is the single most powerful piece of advice you’d like to share? Don’t ever let anyone define beauty for you. Only you can define your unique beauty, and only you get to share that beauty with the world.

What is the most important thing to you? My family, including the furry ones.

WS is all about tribe. How do you ensure the right people are around you? By listening to my instinct. I’ll work hard to keep great people on my team, and I’m not afraid to let go of those whose goals don’t align with mine. (That was a hard lesson, too—but I’ve learned it!)

Want more W.E.L.L. Summit? Follow along in our Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit series for more behind the scenes info about the upcoming event!


Neal Halfon

Neal Halfon, MD, MPH is founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, and also directs the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Halfon is professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Is well known for his health related publications.